Saturday, June 5, 2010

Almost Here

Life seems very surreal right now.  As of last Friday, it became official that Evelyn will never be a preemie as 37 weeks is considered term.  And as of yesterday, I'm 38 weeks.  It feels very odd to be at a place where, statistically speaking, most women get in their pregnancies and to already have a child but to have all of these experiences be new.  Although I know my experience with Elise wasn't "normal" by typical definitions of pregnancy and delivery and new parenting, it became my normal so now I sometimes feel as if I'm having some sort of abnormal experience.

It's been interesting to get to experience bits and pieces of pregnancy that I've only ever heard about.  I don't feel nearly as big as I thought I would in my belly area.  But my hands, legs, ankles and feet are almost continually swollen - with my ankles often larger than the widest part of my foot.  And there have been days where even smiling is uncomfortable because my face is so puffy.  Sleep hasn't been comfortable by any means, but I have been able to sleep.  In the last week or so, I've really started to feel like I'm carrying a big baby in my belly, sort of like having a big rubber log with a few branches sticking out inside my belly.  On Memorial Day, I had some rather painful/uncomfortable Braxton Hicks contractions, which was exciting since I never had contractions like that with Elise (just one solid contraction for hours).

I definitely felt her "drop" a couple of weeks ago, which has made things more comfortable in some ways and more uncomfortable in others.  She was breech for a long time because I could frequently feel her head up in between my ribs, and this week my OB did an ultrasound to check to see her positioning since she felt breech to him last week as well.  She managed to turn herself around this last week though (not that it actually matters since I'm having a planned C-section).  I enjoyed seeing her via ultrasound and having my OB tell me where all her little body parts were inside me at that moment.  She was all cramped in there so the only shot we got of her face was face-on and looks very alien-like still.  My OB said she looks to be of average size, and the ultrasound calculated her at about 7 pounds, 3 ounces (so give or take a pound).  Her heart was beating at 150 beats per minute.  It was reassuring to see that she is a fully developed baby and also nice to hear that she won't be a 10-pounder since even 7 pounds will seem like a big baby to me (Elise was 6 pounds, 9 ounces when she came home at 10 weeks, 5 days old).

Now that I'm experiencing a "normal" pregnancy, I've had to remind myself that I actually need to prepare in certain ways for Evelyn's arrival.  I actually have a hospital bag packed for me and Evelyn and a list inside the bag with the extra items to add last minute.  Her room is actually (almost) ready for her; we hadn't even begun to prepare the nursery when Elise was born.  Her clothes are clean and folded in her dresser; we didn't have more than a few baby items when Elise was born let alone a dresser to put them in.  Her bed is ready for her sweet little head to lay; the crib and mattress were in the garage awaiting assembly when Elise was born.  Her closet is stocked with diapers (thanks to our wonderful friends and family).  Her baby blankets (which she won't actually need for a few months after she's born) have been sewn and are in her dresser (and one was "broken in" by her sister last week when I inadvertently had all of Elise's in the washing machine at the same time).

I've been trying to mentally and emotionally prepare for her birth as well.  If all goes as planned, my dear husband will be right by my side as our precious little girl comes into the world.  The concept of even being able to see her within less than 24 hours after her birth is novel.  When you add in that I will get to hold her, kiss her, nurse her, have her by my bedside - well, then I get emotional and teary-eyed.  I hadn't even thought of having Elise come visit her in the hospital until someone mentioned a few weeks ago that they could picture how cute it will be for her to come in with Kit to meet her little sister.  And now it's one of the moments I'm most looking forward to.  I even bought Elise a cute little baby of her own to take home with her from the hospital so that she can practice being a big sister with grandma until we get home.  And although I'm not exactly thrilled about the lack of sleep and trying to figure out how our new baby girl ticks, it's so beautiful to think about getting to have all of those first experiences at home with my little family all together.

We sing a song at church called Beautiful Jesus with a line that struck me a couple of weeks ago as a description of both Elise's early birth and Evelyn's upcoming birth.

Your love, oh God, displayed for us
As crimson covered over sinless hands
Your majesty for all to see
In raging storms and quiet cloudless days 

I wouldn't typically describe Elise's birth as a "raging storm" since that sounds a big over-dramatic to me, but in comparison to my relatively peaceful pregnancy with Evelyn, it seems like a beautiful depiction of God's majesty being displayed both in the tumultuous and in the calm.

In these last few days of pregnancy, I'm soaking in the joy of being Elise's mommy and of also being Evelyn's mommy.  I'm making final preparations and spending time simply playing with Elise and enjoying holding Evelyn inside me for a few more precious days.  I am so thankful for the blessings God has given me and rejoicing in this time full of beauty, wonder and awe.


Heather and Travis said...

What a beautiful post! And a big "HOORAH" for being full term. That's amazing!

Amy said...

Oh my goodness! I've been following your blog since just after Elise was born and reading this post even made ME teary eyed. I'm so excited for you and what a vastly different experience this will be. I can't wait to 'meet' your new little one. Congrats!